About This Episode
It’s science fiction vs. science fact on the stage of the Nourse Theater in San Francisco when StarTalk Live! sets off on a mission to Mars hosted by Bill Nye and co-hosted by Eugene Mirman. Dr. Jim Green, the Director of the NASA Planetary Science Division and the man in charge of landing Curiosity on Mars and crashing MESSENGER into Mercury, is on hand to drop the science fact, with the sci fi ably handled by none other than Andy Weir, the author of the best selling book and 2016 Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, The Martian. You’ll hear why two of the most important events in the book and movie are inaccurate or unnecessary – the original sand storm that strands Mark Watney on Mars, and Mark’s procedures for extracting water using hydrazine. Andy shares how JPL almost ruined the book’s plot with the Curiosity rover, while Jim shares NASA’s real timetable for putting humans on the red planet. Join us as we explore Mars’ weeping craters and subterranean glacier, and find out why Mars’ lack of a magnetosphere changed Mars from the very wet, Earthlike planet it was 3.5 billion years ago. Learn what ISRU is all about, and why all that astronauts will need to reclaim water on Mars “is a straw.” You’ll also discover why Andy chose potatoes rather than peas or asparagus and which famous line in the movie isn’t even in the book! All this plus Mars 2020, MAVEN, bases on the Martian moon Phobos, the technological problems NASA must solve to mitigate risk, NASA budgets, and Maeve Higgins on why the Irish are so adorable…and this is just Part One!
(WARNING: Since this show was recorded live on Jan 22, 2016 before an adult audience in San Francisco, be prepared for some adult language.)
NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: StarTalk Live! from SF Sketchfest 2016 (Part 1)